May 16th, 2016

Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces DayWhat are you doing next Saturday, May 21? Did you know it’s Armed Forces Day?

President Harry S. Truman led the initiative to create a holiday for citizens to honor our military and their service to our country.The first official Armed Forces Day was held in New York City in 1950 and in 1961 President John F. Kennedy declared the third Saturday in May a national holiday.

When you visit the library, look for our Military Family Resource Collection. This special collection of adult, children and teen books, DVDs, and children’s learning resource kits are available to connect military members and military families with the materials they need to handle the unique challenges of military life. Resources include materials about deployment, families, women’s issues, relationships, re-entering civilian live, employment, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injury, job training, starting a business and more.

Do you know a veteran who would like to learn more about using computers and technology? We offer one-on-one basic technology appointments in all our branches – these appointments are open to the general public as well. We also have a list of resources for veterans and military families available on our website.

Cecil County Public Library is available to veterans who need assistance connecting with their VA Benefits. A great place to start getting connected with VA benefits is by visiting the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs website or by contacting the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs Service Officer, Russ Biondo, at the State Office Building, 2 South Bond Street, 4th Floor, Bel Air, MD 21014 (410) 836-4900. The Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs was created by the State Legislature in 1999 as an executive agency with the mission of assisting veterans, active duty service members, their families and dependents, in securing benefits earned through military service.

Join us in honoring the sacrifices and contributions made by our veterans and the brave family members and loved ones of our service men and women.

Have you thanked a vet today?

 

“Our nation owes each day of security and freedom that we enjoy to the members of our Armed Forces and their families. Behind our brave service men and women, there are family members and loved ones who share in their sacrifice and provide unending support.” – President Obama


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March 22nd, 2016

Pysanky Eggs

PysankyEggsIf you live in the Chesapeake City area of Cecil County, you may already be familiar with the fascinating Ukrainian folk art of pysanky eggs. The Chesapeake City Branch Library will host a program about this amazing folk art on March 22 at 6:30pm with the artists that created the eggs in the display case sharing the rich history of the art and how they are made.

A pysanka egg is…in simple terms…an egg decorated using a wax resist (aka batik) method. The term comes from the Ukrainian verb “pysaty”, which means “to write”. “Pysanka” is the singular form and “pysanky” is the plural. The pysanka egg is so much more than that though. Ukrainians have been decorating eggs and creating these beautiful and intricate works of art for many generations.

In many cultures, ancient people developed myths about the egg…seeing it as an example of creation and the source of life. The intricately colored eggs were used for various social and religious occasions and at times were seen to be a talisman, a protector against evil, as well as a bringer of good and health. Over time, the pysanka tradition was incorporated within the Christian church and they became a form of Ukrainian Easter eggs.

In the past, there was at times a long and involved ritual regarding the decorating of the pysanky eggs. The eggs were made at night after the children were asleep and only the women in the family would work together. Special songs could be sung and the eggs were dyed with special family formulas. The process could take several evenings to finish the beautiful, intricate eggs and within a larger family, 60 eggs could be completed.

There are many different traditional symbols that are used in decorating the eggs. Geometric motifs are popular, as well as some animal and plant elements. You will find a lot of stylized symbols of the sun, which can be seen as a broken cross, triangle and eight-pointed rosette or a star. You can also find flowers, leaves, the tree of life, stags, horses and birds. The Christian influence brought the cross, the church and fish symbols. As pysanka decoration has been passed on through the years, you start to see much more modern decorations and symbols being used.

A specialized instrument called the kistka or ryl’tse is used during the wax resist method to write the design onto the egg with hot beeswax. Wherever the wax is applied, the dye will not penetrate. In the past, artisans prepared their own dyes using natural products such as bark, twigs and leaves of various trees. Today, chemical dyes are mainly used. The dye colors also held meanings at times, such as yellow standing for wealth and fertility and green being the symbol of spring and plant life. Of course, this is a simplified version of the process and there is so much more information about how to create these artful eggs.

I mentioned Chesapeake City earlier, because the Ukrainian people began arriving in Chesapeake City from the Ukraine in 1910. The first bishop in the US for the Ukrainian Byzantine Rite purchased 700 acres of land near Chesapeake City to help the Ukrainian people to settle as farmers and build a Ukrainian community. Traditions such as the pysanka egg were brought with them and every year we have many beautiful eggs on display in the case at the Chesapeake City library.

What is your favorite way to decorate eggs?


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